Monday, August 21, 2017


While analysing my failures at Chess Tempo, I noticed three areas of improvement for me:
  • initiative
  • mate
  • promotion
I have  made some serious progress in unearthing a few important scenarios considering the initiative. It only needs practising now.

I have developed a nice picture which covers all scenarios around mate:

  • Chase the king into the box
  • Chase the king onto a line of attack
  • Plug the hole in the box so the king can't skedaddle
  • Squeeze the box
  • Pry the box about by the weakest defender
  • Add attackers
  • Cut off defenders
The scheme lacks practical testing, as of yet.

And I have avoided ideas about promotion so far.

It is difficult to choose which subject to devote my attention to, since when I train one of them, I get frustrated by being pummeled by the other two.

So I simply start with promotion, and see to which it leads. And when I want to change the subject of study, I simply change it without further ado.

Takchess gave us some random thoughts about promotion.
  • Two connected pawns always can promote.
    A pawn nearing promotion demands attention and causes immobility.
  • A pawn promoting causes an imbalance in power and sacrifices of material often occur to
    make it happen.
  • The pawn movement toward promoting is often a form of initiative when a puzzle has a pawn on sixth rank promotion may be a factor special cases.
    Pawn which promotes with check.
    Pawn which promotes with double attack.
  • Pawn which promotes with a pin of a piece to the king.
  • Pawn which promotes whose capture removes a guard.
    Pawn which under promotes to a Knight.
It is good to keep these random thoughts in mind when I try to unearth some eternal chess truths about promotion.

Now let me think for myself. When you promote, you gain wood. In that sense, it doesn't differ much from a capture. For the time being, I will treat it as such. The target is the promotion square.

The nitty-gritty of promotion is the fact that the target is permanently immobilized. And everything that is immobile is a potential vulnerability.

Hence the scenarios revolve around the path towards promotion. About methods to block or impede the path to promotion, and about the ways how to clear the path. Once the promotion is a fact, the newly acquired piece is just another piece, which from that moment should be treated as such.

Ok, this already gives enough food for though. I'm going to look for a few sample positions from Chess Tempo, to help matters to become more concrete.


  1. upon reflection . I believe what I heard was two connected " passed pawns' can always promote. Cheers.

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  3. King and two connected Pawns vs. lone King always wins. Two connected passed pawns on the 6th rank CAN win (unaided by ownside King) against a Rook. IM Silman's book Silman's Complete Endgame Course - From Beginner to Master is awesome!

    My "view" of promotion possibilities is based on extending a trajectory from the Pawn to the 8th rank as part of a Pawn's "aura," instead of limiting it to legal moves (straight ahead) and captures (diagonally) for one move. I usually consider that promotion possibility whenever the Pawn advances to the 5th rank or beyond. It's one of the rudimentary "contacts" described by Averbakh. More often than not, a Pawn advance in the middlegame is focused on attack and line clearance rather than material gain through promotion. Promotion (usually) occurs when the position is simplified, with more characteristics of an endgame (reduced material) rather than a middlegame. As in all things chess, exceptions to every "rule" abound.